By Micha Green, AFRO Washington, D.C. Editor, [email protected]
Six Black males have been murdered in the month of December- all under the age of 40. Gerald Watson was only 15. Gerald was a ninth grader at Anacostia High School. Gerald was on a recreation football team. Gerald was part of a late-night basketball league called “Shoot Hoops Not Bullets.” On Dec. 13. Gerald was chased down by two-masked aggressors and shot nine times in a stairwell of an apartment building.
Hours before Gerald’s life was taken he was at school helping a friend deal with a personal crisis according to The Washington Post.
“I try to read between the lines and try to understand what is going on behind the facade of people,” Nathan Luecking, a social worker at Anacostia High School who knew Gerald told The Post. “I got a strong, decent, helpful presence about him.”
At approximately 3:39 p.m., officers from the Seventh District reported to the 2900 block of Knox Place Southeast, after reports of gunshots, according to a Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) press release. When they arrived they found Gerald suffering from gunshot wounds. When D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services reported to the scene they began life-saving efforts and transported him to a local hospital, to no avail. He was officially pronounced dead 35 minutes later.
Gerald had run into the apartment building next door to the one where his mother and grandmother resided. A painful loss, as he was only 15 and violently taken from this earth, MPD Police Chief Peter Newsham emphasized the “heartbreaking” nature of the murder only 12 days before Christmas.
In addition to several tributes posted, people have been using social media to encourage someone to speak out on who killed Gerald.
“Somebody knows who did it. Turn them in! We speak [your] name. #GeraldWatson #RIPGerald,” ANC Commissioner, Chair of ANC8, and communications and political strategist Troy Prestwood, wrote on Twitter.
Others are also posting about an upcoming vigil that will be held at the Boys and Girls Club (1901 Mississippi Ave. S.E.) on Dec. 19 at 6:30.
“This safe space will be for teens who want to mourn, reflect and celebrate,” read a caption on the DMV Youth Instagram account. “We will not let this young man’s story end in his death!
“If your young person is hurting and needs to process this, please join us. If you are hurting and need to process this, please join us,” the DMV Youth account wrote, encouraging people to come the vigil.
The 15-year-old’s death is number 158 of the 159 murders in the District of Columbia in 2018. The 159th death was on Dec. 15 in Northwest, when 21-year-old Curtis Davis of Southeast was killed.
At this time last year there had been 121 murders according to D.C. Witness, a site that tracks the homicides in D.C.
MPD is still investigating Gerald’s death, as well as Davis’ and about 80 other cases in the District to solve their murders. Up to $25,000 is being offered to anyone that assists in the arrest and conviction of those responsible for homicides in D.C. Those with any information are encouraged to call 202-727-9099 or text the TIP Line at 50411.